Q&A

Polish Removed Can Dehydrate The Nails

Q.

Q. Several of my clients developed dry white spots on their natural nails. Yet after going a month without polish on their nails, the spots disappeared. Are the spots caused by something internal? Is there a base coat I could use to prevent them? Also, what causes some of my clients’ natural nails to split down the center?

A.

Q. Several of my clients developed dry white spots on their natural nails. Yet after going a month without polish on their nails, the spots disappeared. Are the spots caused by something internal? Is there a base coat I could use to prevent them? Also, what causes some of my clients’ natural nails to split down the center?

A. The dry white spots are most likely caused by minor injury to the nail, resulting in irregularity of the nail surface. The fact that the spots disappear after a month without polish on the nails strongly suggests that polish use is the cause.

Nail polish protects the nails. Unfortunately, removing polish with solvents such as acetone and ethyl acetate (the two most commonly used solvents in nail polish removers) tends to dehydrate the nail plate, causing layers of the nail to peel away and rough, dry white spots appear. As the old nail grows out, the dry spots gradually grow out with it.

Base coats and other applications will not prevent the dry white spots from developing because base coat is removed with the polish allowing the solvents to come into contact with the natural nail. Loss frequent use of polish removers will help, as will buffing the nail plate after using polish remover.

Nails splitting also can be caused by using polish removers, which can make the nail more brittle, or by trauma to the nail. Some nails just split naturally. Just as hairs develop split ends, the nail may be thinner in some areas and have a tendency to split as it grows long. If the nail matrix forms a thin nail that splits, you can reinforce the nail with an overlay.

 

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